By Annie Rhoades
A career in law enforcement is a choice for some, but for Lt. Col. Kevin Myers (BAEd 91), assistant director of the Mississippi Highway Patrol and chief of the uniform division, it was a family tradition.
“My dad and my uncle were both state troopers,” Myers said. “They retired in 1998, so since my first breath the highway patrol has been a part of my life. It was a dream of mine growing up to one day be a part of it.”
Born in Jackson, Myers moved around the state living in Clinton and Pearl before eventually moving to Arlington, Texas, where he graduated from Sam Houston High School in 1987.
“I went to the University of Texas for two years after I graduated, then transferred to Ole Miss in 1989,” Myers said. “I couldn’t wait to get back to Mississippi. I chose Ole Miss because I love the university. My parents provided me the opportunity to go to school there, and it was the best time of my life.”
Myers began his college career focusing on government and economics courses with the hopes of one day becoming a teacher.
“Economics has always been my passion, and I enjoyed that field” Myers said. “I thought I wanted to teach, but I decided that my calling was in law enforcement.”
A member of Phi Kappa Tau Fraternity, Myers received his bachelor’s degree in 1991. He then accepted a job with FedEx where he worked for a little over a year before enrolling in patrol school.
“A patrol school has to be funded by the legislature,” explained Myers. “I went to the first one that was available after I graduated from Ole Miss. I completed the 21-week program located at the Mississippi Law Enforcement Officers’ Training Academy (MLEOTA) in Pearl in December 1993, Cadet Class 48.”
Once he completed patrol school, Myers was assigned to Troop J in the Hattiesburg district. After two years he was allowed to transfer back to Troop C in Jackson where he served for another two years before transitioning to executive protection.
“I was head of security for Speaker Tim Ford (BA 73, JD 77), who was a great Ole Miss alum, and was assigned to him for eight years until he retired,” Myers said. “He was very instrumental in my career and success in the highway patrol. He was a good friend and always had a lot of time to talk with me and explain things. I learned a lot about the legislative process and budgets and things of that nature, which I really enjoyed.”
Myers went on to serve as legislative liaison handling budget and legislative requests at the capitol for four years. In 2008, executive protection came calling again when then Lt. Gov. Phil Bryant (79) asked Myers if he would head up his security detail.
“I transitioned with Gov. Bryant from lieutenant governor into the governor’s mansion where I served as director of the governor’s security for a year and a half before being promoted to my current position,” Myers said. “He was really incredible to work with. I got to see a lot of things that I normally would never have gotten the opportunity to see and visit with people who were extremely incredible to me. It was a good experience working for him.”
Myers enjoys the many opportunities his job affords to serve his community and works hard to improve public safety, while hopefully having a positive impact on the state’s youth.
“Law enforcement is only going to be as successful as our community,” said Myers. “Getting out and protecting the public is very rewarding, and we’re blessed to live in a state that our citizens back law enforcement tremendously. The number one function of government in my opinion is public safety, because if you don’t have public safety nothing else really matters. My goal has always been to live up to our motto of courtesy, service and safety and to treat people with respect. It’s extremely important to me to go out and make an impression on young people and encourage them to make good decisions.”
While Myers’ rise through the ranks of law enforcement has been hard earned, he knows he wouldn’t be where he is today without Ole Miss.
“I attribute a lot of my fortunate success to the experiences that Ole Miss gave me, and the opportunity to pursue my dreams,” said Myers. “The knowledge I gained from the professors along with the life experiences I obtained have been truly amazing. My best friends in the world today are my friends from Ole Miss.”
Myers looks forward to serving with the highway patrol for a few more years and eventually retiring in Oxford where he’ll attend as many sporting events as possible.
“I’m really excited that my daughter, Mason, has committed to the university and will be a freshman this fall,” Myers said. “Everywhere I go I’m proud to tell people that I went to Ole Miss – it truly is a family. The university terminates tenure, but one never graduates from Ole Miss.”